Getting organised before you go is key to a good day out.
Stop! Read below for top tips before you go out.
Taking a family out for the day can be stressful, right? No matter how well behaved the children are, or how much they want to go, you, the parent have to think about all the “what if’s.” What if it rains? What if they get lost? What if they get hungry? What if…….what if you actually planned and covered most of these problems before you go?
Written below are my top tips for going out for the day with the family.
Thinking cap on…
Here are some things to bear in mind. Ask yourself….
- What’s your budget?
- Check for discounts and deals
- How far would you like to travel?
- Packed lunch or eating out?
- Does the weather impact on your choice?
- Bag essentials
Write your answers down if it helps, grab a cuppa and get prepared.
What’s your budget?
Money, money, money! Most things these days cost money and the more children you have, the more expensive the day out can be, obviously. I have four and know just how expensive a day out can be! So, checking your budget before you decide where to go is a must. Some of the ideas in my previous post are free to do or just involve travelling costs. But as with anything you can make a “free day out” expensive if you forget to budget in food, travel, gift shops, parking etc. If you do an activity regularly you may want to consider an annual pass.
Check for discounts and deals. Before you go anywhere that costs, check for discounts and deals everywhere. Most theme parks offer discounts all year round, they can be found online, cereal packets, newspapers, everywhere! Ask a friend if they have an annual pass as many offer friends and family discounts. Maybe your work has a discount scheme, check if your day out is on there. Even visiting the supermarket, the night before for reduced packed lunch items, there is always a good deal to be had.
App store! Many places now have their own app, so check the app store before you go, download what you need and have it ready at the entrance. Even restaurants have their own apps that can offer as much as 50% off, buy one meal get one free etc.
Annual passes. Although it’s a bigger outlay at first you can easily make it worth its value after a few days out. Consider a pass as a gift at birthdays or Christmas. We usually buy our family Merlin Annual pass in the January sale as a gift for us all for Christmas! Not only do they offer a saving on entrance fees they usually come with extra benefits too such as shop discounts, hotel reductions, parking concessions, family and friends benefits too.
How far would you like to travel?
Travelling over 40 miles, with children in the car and a dog in the middle of a summer heatwave is never fun, for anyone! However, if your destination is the beach for the day, it could be worth the journey. What you need to think about is the cost of travelling, how far and is where you are going worth it? For example, do you really want to take a train, a bus journey, then a short walk in the rain to go to the beach? Probably not. Sometimes the journey is worth it too. Think of sitting in the car for an hour or so in the sun to reach the most beautiful woodlands where you can stretch your legs for a couple of hours, climb trees and take in the beauty of natural surroundings. Top tip; Download a travel app to plan your journey with stop offs along the way if its a long one. Check before you leave if there have been any incidents that day too. I can’t think of anything worse than being stuck in a car with excited kids and a 3 mile tail back traffic jam! Nightmare.
Packed lunch or eating out?
Your budget usually determines if you are going to take a packed lunch or eat out. But where you go could decide for you too. You don’t find too many restaurants in the middle of the woods! Consider downloading an app for your favourite restaurant to save some pennies if you are eating out and shopping the night before in a supermarket might get you a bargain sandwich. Packing lunch the night before not only saves time but you are less likely to forget something in the hectic chaos of getting ready the morning you go. Pop a note on the side reminding you to take the lunch from the fridge in the morning.
Does the weather impact your choice of destination?
Splashing around in the mud through the woods is quite fun if you are dressed and prepared for it. Spending the day at the beach with wet sand and soggy sandwiches is not fun! So be prepared and go for it.
Consider an indoor activity on a hot day as most offer air conditioning and it will give you a chance to be out of the midday sun with the children.
Top tip;Theme parks are good fun on a rainy day! Most offer a free day back under their rainy-day rule (check this before you go in-case of changes) but consider this, rainy days keep most people at home, so wrap up warm and enjoy a much quieter theme park!
I may not need a changing bag with four older children, but I still need some bag essentials on a day out.
- Wet wipes are needed for everyone at all ages in our house, including my husband. He manages to slop food down his top every time he eats! One pack is enough for us.
- Next, I like to pack some small snacks, even if we are eating out I like to do that only once in the day and so snacks are a must to get through to dinner time. Drinks, oh my goodness drinks can be so expensive when you are out and so a few bottles of water go in the bag too.
- Phone battery charger pack. Being stuck anywhere without your phone is not ideal with kids in case of emergencies and if you have downloaded an app for a good deal, you’ll need your phone and battery life.
- A pen. Top tip; When we go out for the day I always write one of our mobile numbers on the kid’s upper arm in case they get lost or injured. Some places have wrist straps for the same thing, but my children don’t usually like them, so I just write it on.
- Reading material. I usually take my kindle with me or a magazine and my earphones. These are great for days out at the trampoline park especially. The kids get tired and I get to read. Perfect combination.
Those are the main things I usually take, the rest is a little more dependant on where we go but the basics are covered with the above.
Ready to go…..
They were my top tips for getting prepared for a day out with the children. I hope it helps you the next time you go out and if you are not sure where to go, read my previous post on great family days out. Please leave a comment below if this has helped you or if you would like to share your top tips.
Take care and have fun being prepared!
Jemma Louise Mc xx